Member of the Month January 2012
A founding member of GYP and regular attendee, Fraser McLaren is our first Member of the Month!
Fraser McLaren CA
What’s your background?
A life-long Glaswegian, I left school at 16 to start a Chemical Engineering degree at Strathclyde University. However, being more interested in hitting the gym and training as an amateur boxer than I was in attending lectures, I soon decided science was not for me and left university during my second year to reconsider what I wanted to do.
As luck would have it, a friend of a friend, who was aware of my interest in health and fitness, was looking for someone to help-out at his gym and I ended up working as a personal trainer and running the gym for a while as I considered my next move. It was during this time that I realised I enjoyed running businesses and conscious of the importance of a solid university degree I decided to return to university and enrolled on the BAcc Accounting with Finance at the University of Glasgow.
Four years later, I graduated with first class honours and joined Ernst & Young on their graduate training programme where I trained as a Chartered Accountant with the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland before leaving EY to join KPMG’s Restructuring Advisory practice where I continue to work today.
What do you do for a living?
I’d probably best describe myself as a “turnaround consultant”. Using the skills and experience I picked-up from running and selling businesses during my CA training, I now work with SMEs to provide cash management, debt advisory and core turnaround expertise.
In the last year I’ve worked with a range of high-profile businesses to assist them in overcoming a whole host of issues that ultimately led to some form of financial pressure.
Many of these businesses had suffered breakdowns in internal control processes and severe cash shortages and many had breached their lending facilities. All were headed in the wrong direction and one or two were literally within hours of going bust when we first met.
Whilst businesses are not always in crisis situations when the need for turnaround assistance is recognised, both severe cashflow issues and impending deadlines are common themes when I’m working with clients day to day.
Although the hours and stresses can be very demanding, the effort involved always seems worthwhile when a business trades-on to recovery and continues to provide employment, be that to five, ten or ten thousand individuals.
If money & time were no object, what would you do?
Check back with me in six months.
All going to plan I’ll be retired, driving a McLaren MP4 12c and about to jet off to Africa to lead a water, farming or business project.
When you’re not working, what do you enjoy doing?
Being in the car, at meetings or in front of my laptop for long hours during the week means I always enjoy a good workout on a Saturday and Sunday and if possible at some point during the week too.
Workouts aside I’m pretty laidback and enjoy catching-up with friends over coffee, trading the stock market, and to the annoyance of my girlfriend Sarah, attempting the occasional DIY project. I’m not a big fan of television or films, although I have probably seen every episode of the Simpsons at least five times over the years and know pretty much everything there is to know about Stewie from Family Guy.
Why did you join GYP?
I remember sitting in my study a couple of years back, surfing the net looking for ways to expand my network. I wanted to get away from the usual contact of a contact way of meeting people and was keen to jump into a completely new environment and shake things up a little.
I recall stumbling across the GYP website and although it wasn’t up and running at that time decided to make contact. It was a great find.
Are there any events you would like to see us run?
The first ever GYP monthly drinks will always be my absolute favourite.
The idea of twenty-odd individuals stumbling across a website and deciding to travel from all over the city to meet with a handful of strangers to further their network is awesome. Looking at GYP’s thousand-strong membership today it’s clear to see the extraordinary momentum that was created that day and the world of opportunity available for anyone who has not yet attended an event.
A few more members and a secret handshake and GYP will be ready to take on the world.
For the reasons above, I always look forward to monthly drinks. However, as a trained accountant I do enjoy a good efficient process and on this basis, I think a business speed-dating format would make for a neat event.
Are you a member of any other networking groups?
I’ve looked at a few, but with my current schedule, GYP ticks more than enough boxes.
Can we find you online?
You can find me on LinkedIn.